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J Postgrad Med. 2001 Jul-Sep;47(3):171-6.

Oral cancer among patients under the age of 35 years.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Epidemiology and Clinical studies, Community Oncology and Radiation Oncology, Regional Cancer Centre, Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram - 695 011, India.



Cancer of the oral cavity is one of the commonest cancers among males.


To assess the aetiological factors, patient characteristics, treatment and the outcome in young patients with oral cancer.


A retrospective descriptive study of patients under the age of 35 years with cancer of the oral cavity treated between 1982-1996, with the last follow-up till 2001, using the tumour registry data of Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), Trivandrum, Kerala, India.


The detailed clinical, treatment and follow-up data were obtained from the computerised records of RCC and recorded on a preset proforma. This was analysed with emphasis on age, sex, risk factors, site, histology, clinical extent and treatment methods and survival in the study group.


The survival analysis was carried by Kaplan-Meier method and the difference in survival was analysed using log-rank test.


Out of 264 patients analysed, tongue was the commonest site identified in 136 (52%) patients followed by buccal mucosa in 69 (26%) patients. A male female ratio of 2.3:1 was observed with a significantly higher male preponderance in buccal mucosa (4.3:1). Prior exposure to tobacco or alcohol was noted in 59.4% patients, with more habitu├ęs in buccal mucosa cancer. Histological confirmation was present only in 83.7% patients and among them most were squamous cell carcinoma (85.9%). Radiotherapy, surgery or combined modalities of treatment were employed for majority of patients. The 5-year survival was 57.3%. T stage of the tumour was found to be significant in predicting disease free survival (P=0.03).


The importance of early detection for clinical down staging is stressed. There is a need to investigate the aetiology of intra oral cancers in younger patients since a significant proportion (almost 40%) of these patients do not have associated risk factors for cancer.

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